WASHINGTON — The Twitter account of John Tieso, an adjunct assistant professor in The Busch School of Business at Catholic University, was removed after a meeting with an administrator to discuss allegations of “racially-charged” speech, a spokesperson for the school said.
An anonymous letter from a student at another university was sent to the Dean of the Busch School of Business last week. A copy of the letter was obtained by WUSA 9.
The letter identified three tweets that the author called “racist.” One of the tweets, posted to the account on July 8th, 2018, was a retweeted photo of former President Barack Obama with the caption, “That’s the Obama we all came to know and hate. Incredibly incompetent and vain. Perhaps he might consider staying in Africa and giving all his money to his people.”
We contacted Tieso by email and asked about the cited tweet. He said, “I know nothing about [it].”
He added, “I have never connected my university address with my Twitter account, but you have apparently done that, and I resent it. My views are my own.”
The school’s social media policy outlines the need for disclaimer language in personal posts. Prior to its removal, no such language existed in the biography section of Tieso’s account.
"We take allegations of racially-charged speech on campus to be matters of serious concern, and we encourage those students who have been made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable due to racially-charged speech to come forward and make a report,” said a university spokesperson in a statement. “We want to hear from you and address your concerns. We have reporting measures in place for our community to safely report any type of ethical misconduct.”
Two current students at the university, who wished to remain anonymous but whose identities were independently verified, called the Twitter account’s content, “Inappropriate."
None of the students or alumni we talked were aware of any prior student complaints regarding Tieso’s Twitter account. When asked about Tieso’s behavior toward students of color, students we spoke with described it as respectful.
“He’s always been professional with me,” said a student with knowledge of the matter.